Photo: VW

In 2017, Volkswagen offered an excellent six year and 72,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty on select models for folks who were considering the brand but were perhaps a bit apprehensive about its reputation for problems and expensive German repair bills. Nothing lasts forever, though, and that includes sweet warranty deals. VW will be reducing the coverage to four years and 50,000 miles starting with the 2020 models.

According to Automotive News, Volkswagen was clear that the industry leading bumper-to-bumper coverage was a direct response to a lack of consumer confidence following the Dieselgate scandal. VW’s doing better these days, thanks to the Atlas and Tiguan, so maybe that giant “Please forgive us” warranty is no longer, uh, warranted.

From the story:

Volkswagen started its 6-year/ 72,000-mile transferable bumper-to-bumper warranty program in 2017 as the brand was launching its Atlas crossover and trying to emerge from its diesel emissions crisis. At the time, the warranty was viewed as a way to restore consumer confidence in the brand. However, despite heavy advertising, the boosted warranty offering never became a major “why buy” for Volkswagen customers, Movassaghi (Senior Vice President of Sales) explained.

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The spokesperson said that most customers, especially those who leased VW products, never saw the full benefit of the program. While the warranty will be reduced to four years and 50,000 total miles, VW is still ahead of most manufacturer’s bumper-to-bumper programs and will offer 2020 model buyers two years of free maintenance.

In my own interactions with car buyers on a daily basis, the warranty, for the most part, was seen as a bonus but not a primary reason to buy a Volkswagen product. In my experience most folks that were apprehensive of VW’s build quality weren’t swayed by the additional coverage and purchased a different brand anyway.

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However, the people that will really be impacted are the used buyers. Since buying a pre-owned vehicle usually carries a bit more risk than a new purchase, I did have several clients give a used 2018 Volkswagen a shot because of the remaining balance of the transferable six year/72,000-mile coverage. These pre-owned VW’s offered the best of both worlds in a car that already had some depreciation value built in but also plenty of remaining warranty left.

While automakers typically don’t care about buyers in the secondhand market, those shopping for used Volkswagens a few years from now are going to want to pay attention to the warranty shifts between various model years.